You and your partner get along in every way possible, except for one, and it’s a doozy. Your sex life.
Physical intimacy is an important part of any marriage. It deepens your bond, builds trust, and boosts that love-building hormone called oxytocin. So, what happens when one partner has a high libido and the other is happier only having sex a few times a month? Or when one partner has a strong sexual kink that puts the other off?
A stark contrast in preferred sexual frequency or style of intimacy is common in marriages. The solution comes down to compromise. Here are 5 ways you can meet each other’s physical needs and keep your sex life satisfying.
One study found that husbands reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction when they knew their wives were sexually satisfied. For this reason, it is beneficial for couples to open up about their sexual needs. After all, you can’t meet each other’s sexual needs if you don’t know what they are.
It can be difficult to talk about your sex life with your partner, especially if you’re trying to correct an issue or if they are sensitive to receiving instruction. If this is the case for you and your spouse, always focus on the good. You may choose to tell your partner all the things you love or enjoy about your sex life together, and then gently focus on what could make it “More amazing!”
Stay away from negatives when talking about sex. Instead of saying “You never bring me to orgasm and I’m really frustrated” opt for “You know what would get me really excited? If you would do X, Y, and X next time we have sex.”
Tell your partner what you like in bed and what you’re not so crazy about and then ask them to reciprocate their feelings on the matter. In order to have a productive conversation about physical intimacy, you must both be honest with your answers.
Talk about your fantasies, favorite positions, things you’d like to try, and what your preferences are regarding sexual frequency. If you both have vastly different ideas on how many times a week is satisfying, look for a reasonable way to meet in the middle.
Connect Physically and Emotionally
Nonsexual touch can be a powerful thing for couples. Unfortunately, when the sexual needs of the higher-libido partner are not being met it can derail other promising avenues of physical connection between couples, such as cuddling, kissing, and holding hands.
It’s important to restore avenues of nonsexual physical intimacy and emotional intimacy if couples want to meet each other’s sexual needs.
You can restore emotional intimacy by talking to one another more often, spending time together, and going on outings. Anything that promotes a connection and vulnerability with one another will be beneficial for your marriage on an emotional and physical level.
Sexual Menus and Date Night
Date night is raved about for a reason. It gives couples the opportunity to reconnect on an emotional level, while building up sexual anticipation. Couples will plan a date – something fun that reminds you that you must keep dating one another to maintain strong affection. Do something exciting, relaxing, or special for the two of you to do.
Focus on connecting emotionally, talking, and building your sexual chemistry for the end of the evening.
This is a great way to meet each other’s sexual needs. For the partner with the lower sex drive, they will know to anticipate sex and look forward to the act, while the spouse with the higher sex drive will know that there will be a chance to be physically intimate later and will not have to stress about initiating it.
It can also be beneficial for couples to open up about a sexual menu with one another. For example, perhaps your spouse is not up for intercourse on certain days or times but would be open to other sexual acts such as mutual touching and sexual foreplay.
Keep an Open Mind
Couples who have differing levels of sexual desire need to keep an open mind about how they are approaching sex with their partner.
Higher-libido spouses should recognize that while compromise is important in a marriage, you would not want to force your partner into doing something they absolutely do not want to do.
Similarly low-libido partners should know that if they continually deny their partner the opportunity to bond with them during sex, they may also drive their partners away emotionally and create further intimacy problems in marriage.
Keep an open mind about how you both approach intimacy. Instead of focusing on not being in the mood, tell your partner a day when you’re more likely to feel frisky, such as the weekends when there is less stress in your day.
For spouses who have a higher sex drive, it may not be that your partner doesn’t desire sex. You may just have to approach it differently. Instead of expecting your partner to go from 0 to 100 with you, focus on kissing and making them feel emotionally secure. Initiate foreplay and see if things progress from there.
It is important to be reasonable when you are trying to accommodate one another sexually. A wife should not expect her husband to be ready to be intimate after he has worked for 10 hours, nor should a husband expect his wife to be up for sex when he has not taken the time to care for her emotionally or if foreplay has not been initiated.
Intimacy problems in marriage may happen, but it doesn’t have to be a cause for distress in the relationship. Pursue healthy physical intimacy with your spouse by striving to meet each other’s sexual needs through communication and compromise. Boost the happiness in your relationship by having a regular date night and strengthening your emotional bond as a couple.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.